In 1971, Alfa Romeo introduced the Alfasud, an upscale compact car, at the Turin Motor Show. The popular Rudolph Hruska model was developed and designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Series production at the new Alfa plant in Pomigliano D’ Arco (Naples) began in 1972, with almost 910,000 vehicles leaving the production line from the sedan to the end of 1983, and 121,434 units from the Alfa Romeo fuel coupé, without the addition of Sud, to 1989.
The technical innovations of the Alfasud met with great interest. The front-wheel drive, a novelty at Alfa Romeo, featured a water-cooled 4-cylinder boxer engine that was installed lengthwise overhanging. The advantage of the flat boxer was not only its small footprint, but also its low centre of gravity and smooth running. The capacity of the Alfasud saloon ranged from 1.2 to 1.5 litres, and the performance varied between 63 and 84 hp depending on the model. Initially, the Alfasud was only available as a four-door version, with a total of eleven versions of the sedan being sold. Alfa Romeo added the sporty, two-door TI and the compact Quicksilver Coupé to the series as early as the year it was launched. In 1975 followed the Giardinetta station wagon and in 1976 the 2+2-seater Coupé Sprint.
Evil tongues claimed from the Alfasud that the vehicles were already rusting in the factory. Alfa Romeo used cheap sheet metal from Russia for the compact car and foamed the cavities instead of sealing them. Although the PU foam had the advantage of additional insulation, the connection between foam and metal did not last long, so that moisture quickly penetrated and attacked the sheets. In contrast, engine and drive technology were outstanding and fulfilled the highest quality requirements.